The Best Factor on a Roller Coaster – Highly Debatable Topic

Today, I will be discussing a highly debatable topic.

What is truly the best factor on a roller coaster?

The way that it is most logical to tell is by comparing and looking at some of the world’s best roller coasters.


Round 1

The most popular factors and the most debated are intensity vs. airtime.

I will use Intimidator 305 from Kings Dominion, known for it’s intensity and Steel Vengeance from Cedar Point, known primarily for it’s airtime.

Comparing the two elements is hard because it depends on a person’s preference.

Many people consider Intimidator 305 to be the “Best Roller Coaster in the World” because of how intense it is. On the other hand, other people consider Steel Vengeance to hold the same title.

However, the element that matters more to a ride is intensity. Intensity will cause the elements to have more gravitational force on them, resulting in a faster, more forceful ride.

Intensity is the element that is, therefore, the most important element on a roller coaster.

Then how is Steel Vengeance the Best Roller Coaster in people’s opinion?

The answer to this question is preference. A person may favor airtime over intensity. In addition, Steel Vengeance still has intensity, just not on the scale of Intimidator 305’s. That also is a considerable factor in the decision.

Does intensity and airtime work in the same position?

Intensity will cause airtime to greater increase. Airtime will also cause intensity to increase.

That is, depending on certain factors, like the actual intensity and airtime rate per miles/hour.

If a ride is more intense just from lift hill buildup of potential energy, the kinetic energy will cause the ride to be faster and more intense. Faster and more intense rides lead to more airtime.

A lot of people say that airtime and intensity are always competing, when they are in actuality working together.

The practical answer for these two roller coasters: While people all will have their own opinion, which is based on many subjective preferences, airtime and intensity is equally important. Intensity will greater affect airtime, leading to differences in opinions. Both are important influencing the other factor, and therefore the ride itself.


Round 2

Let’s dive into round 2.

We will be looking at the same factors, but with different roller coasters.

Millennium Force from Cedar Point with the category of intensity and Goliath from Six Flags Over Georgia with the category of airtime.

Millennium Force and Goliath have a very similar thing in common:

They both opened as star-attractions with amazing reputations in their known-for characteristics. That’s one of the reasons they are still popular today.

The thing to keep in mind is while those are the rides primary focus, what was said before still applies.

Intensity and airtime, again: They are closely related to each other.

Millennium Force is intense, but does not have too much airtime. Lots of floater airtime, maybe a little ejector airtime. But that’s it.

Goliath is intense too, and has a lot of airtime. Floater and ejector airtime can be experienced on the ride.

What can be applied to balance the two out?

To truly balance intensity and airtime, understand that weight affects how intense a ride is and the amount of airtime to experience on a ride.

Also, consider that if a ride has a lot of airtime, it most likely has more intensity.

That being said, it can be applied to a ride being more intense, can make it have more airtime.

Some rides will not be balanced out between the two. There are physics calculations to calculate all of it, however, parks only share the basic stats. The “advanced” information is never released.


After two rounds of comparing roller coasters to discover more about the issue, it is evident that intensity and airtime are linked.

They affect each other and the ride’s performance/overall experience.

Furthermore, the one that is “better” depends on the ride. That is where the balance between the two’s role enters in. It affects specific rides differently, as explained during the debate.

It also depends purely on personal preference, which is a subjective matter.

All of these things are to consider, especially when arguing with someone about it or criticizing others’ opinions.


-Brandon

4 thoughts on “The Best Factor on a Roller Coaster – Highly Debatable Topic

  1. That was a very interesting article. I, like you, am a coaster enthusiast. Since everyone is a individual, everyone will have a different opinion of their favorite coasters. I generally find the people who rate coasters based on others reviews or opinions are not true enthusiasts, but people who are afraid to make their own opinions. I give you credit Brandon because I don’t think your opinions are based off of what other YouTubers say. I generally rate coasters on one simple thing…how much fun the experience was. It is so hard for me to compare so many coasters because, while one coaster may have more air time or intensity, I might have enjoyed the ride experience more on another coaster. A good example would be Intimidator (Carowinds) vs Goliath (SFOG). Goliath is way more intense than Intimidator but I actually prefer Intimidator because of its very smooth and comfortable ride experience. I know a lot of people that agree with me and I know a lot of people who prefer the ride experience of Goliath. It’s all good though because, like I said, we are all individuals. As long as peoples opinions are truthful and real, I will enjoy reading them. I just don’t like opinions based off someone elses opinions. Intensity and Air time, to me, don’t always make the best ride. Have a great new year Brandon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really appreciate the nice comment! And I completely agree – intensity and airtime do not always make the best ride. The purpose of the article entirely was to explain how they influence rides so much that there is no comparison between the two. Also, they both are equally important. They are important factors, but should not dictate the whole ride experience. I agree, I actually prefer a more comfortable, smooth ride and that is why some of my rankings are unusual. Thank you and have a great new year!

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  2. I would have to disagree with intensity and airtime as being the most important factors of a roller coaster. Both are biproducts of coasters that are comfortable, well themed, and have adequate capacity – with little downtime.

    Nobody like a ride that shakes your teeth loose, gives you a headache, or “crushes the twins” with unforgiving restraints. Any ride that leaves a bruise the next day is remembered for that “feature” more than anything else. If you have ever ridden a coaster with an unpadded lap bar restraint – you won’t think even a little airtime is necessarily a good thing.

    If a ride is well themed, it isn’t just a coaster. This is why Space Mountain. The Beast, and Tatsu seem to be more than just a coaster. You are getting the experience of flight or wilderness, the mystery of the layout you can’t predict, and an escape from reality. It leaves you wanting more because you can’t take it all in. Perception wise, you are part of a story that can change every time you ride it. And it leaves an impression (intensity) that it’s better than anything else out there.

    Lastly, if the park can’t keep the attraction running to meet demand, they either pushed the technology too far, or designed something that is so complicated its impractical. Far too many coasters have failed because of availability or tolerance to real world conditions. The letters SBNO seem to sum it up for these sorts of rides – and there are soooooo many of them.

    In the quest for world records, many times hype exceeds what can be delivered – and the experience, while great for a while, looses much of it’s wow factor especially when it isn’t maintained or the park moves on to the next big thing. To be a classic, and considered one of the best, they only factors that are important are comfort, experience, and sustainability.

    Of course, in life – you can probably say these are the most important factors into anything that is a success, not just coasters.

    Liked by 1 person

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